Annuities can be powerful tools for investment or estate planning. Before you decide to sink your cash into Transamerica annuities, however, you need to understand the basics.
The Transamerica Corporation is an American holding company that sells numerous insurance, retirement and investment products. In addition to annuities, its offerings include 401(k) plans, mutual funds, rollover IRAs and Medicare plans.
What Kinds of Transamerica Annuities Are There?
Transamerica sells various annuities that fall into two main classes:
These long-term retirement tools come in two forms known as Secure Retirement Index and Secure Retirement Index II. Although both products permit you to choose your contract periods, they vary in terms of the kinds of index account investment options they incorporate.
Transamerica offers nine different forms of variable annuities. These products incorporate unique surrender charge schedule periods, pricing structures, benefits and minimum premium rules.
Transamerica consumers can customize how their annuities work by adding various benefits, such as:
- Living benefits designed to deliver retirement income, guaranteed principal and other advantages,
- Death benefits that contribute to inheritances and guarantee certain inheritance minimums, and
- Riders designed to eliminate or reduce surrender charges.
One potential limitation of these benefits is that they’re not universally available. For instance, your choice of variable or fixed-index annuity will restrict which of the living benefits you can tack on to your agreement.
What Should I Expect From Transamerica Annuities?
Transamerica’s history of experience as a financial institution and insurance provider might prove more beneficial for certain consumers than others. For instance, the firm’s selection of annuity products is highly varied compared to what many providers offer. These annuities could also work well for those who want to receive insurance benefits or settlements in the form of regular income instead of lump sums. For those thinking about retirement or investment, the range of choice, financial tools and optional benefits might make it easier to plan estates effectively.
On the other hand, the fact that annuities aren’t the company’s primary focus may limit the overall quality of service you receive. If you’re investing in annuities with a specific motivation that falls beyond the expertise of Transamerica’s advisors, you might be better off consulting with an independent professional.
What’s the General Consensus?
Much of the negative feedback about this company relates to its customer service. Many people complain that Transamerica is slow, inaccurate and inefficient. Although these grievances mostly relate to the company’s insurance products, they raise the valid possibility that Transamerica may fall short when it comes to helping its investment consumers.
Other possible challenges to working with Transamerica annuities might include the fact that its online tools could lack features. Some reviewers said that they had to make phone calls to finalize significant changes to their options, and others claim that the account apps are missing helpful mobile functionality.
Perhaps most troubling, Transamerica’s offers may not always be in the best interests of customers. In 2012, for instance, Forbes reported that the company sent its variable annuity owners letters offering to remove their guarantees in exchange for additional principal. Experts pointed out that while such strategies could work for some investors, Transamerica didn’t really advertise the potential disadvantages for others. As with any annuity, it’s probably smart to do your research prior to buying.